Biden gives Kamala Harris ANOTHER job: VP will now head an online harassment task force to add to her portfolio that includes the border and voting rights
- Biden gives Harris another responsiblity – headling up a task force to fight online abuse and harassment
- Biden to announce task force Thursday and Harris to hold first meeting
- Sloane Stephens, a black U.S. tennis player who has faced racist abuse online, will attend Thursday’s launch with Harris
- Task force being formed to combat the harassment, which disproportionately targets women and minorities
- Online harassment taken on new importance after mass shootings in Texas and New York, which were predated by racist comments online
- Harris also leads defending voting rights and finding root cause of migration
Biden on Thursday will announce the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse and Harris will formally launch it by hosting a roundtable in the afternoon.
The administration said the task force was being launched ‘to address online harms, which disproportionately affect women, girls, people of color, and LGBTQI+ individuals.’
It’s the latest task to be handed to Harris, who has a full plate of issues she leads for the Biden administration, including defending voting rights and examining the root cause of migration.
Harris also has taken the lead for the administration in defending reproductive rights and a woman’s right to an abortion after Politico published a draft Supreme Court opinion that, if enacted, would essentially repeal Roe v. Wade – the landmark that upheld a woman’s right to an abortion.
Online harassment and bullying has been a longtime problem in the country – Melania Trump made combatting it one of the three pillars in her Be Best initiative – but the issue has taken on new urgency since the recent shooting massacres in Texas and New York, which were pre-dated by racist comments on social media.
‘The tragic events in Buffalo and Uvalde have underscored a fact known all too well by many Americans: the internet can fuel hate, misogyny, and abuse with spillover effects that threaten our communities and safety offline,’ a White House fact sheet says.
‘Recent mass shootings have also underscored the connections between online harassment, hate, misogyny, and extremist acts. For example, the Uvalde shooter had a history of threatening girls online, yet these violent, sexualized harms and threats were dismissed and ignored when reported,’ the administration noted.
Attorney General Merrick Garland and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will attend Thursday’s meeting with Harris as will Sloane Stephens, a black U.S. tennis player who has faced racist abuse online.
The Gender Policy Council and the National Security Council will co-chair the task force. Other members include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The task force is intended to develop, over the next 180 days, recommendations for next steps the federal government can take to combat the problem, administration officials said on a briefing call ahead of the launch.
It’s recommendations will include increasing support for survivors of online harassment and abuse; expanding research to better understand the impact and scope of the problem; enhancing prevention, including prevention focused on youth; and strengthening accountability for offenders and platforms, according to the White House.
In the United States, one in three women under the age of 35 report being sexually harassed online, and over half of LGBTQI+ individuals report being the target of severe online abuse, the administration noted.
Sloane Stephens, a black U.S. tennis player who has faced racist abuse online, will attend Thursday’s launch of the online harassment task force
Harris’ other responsiblities for the Biden administration included selling the child tax credit, working on broadband internet issues, helping convince Americans to get their covid vaccine, chairing the National Space Council and heading a pro-union task force.
The vice president also inserted herself into the debate over abortion rights with a fiery speech to Emily’s List, a pro-abortion group, shortly after the draft Supreme Court opinion leaked.
‘How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?’ Ms. Harris said last month. ‘How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?’